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Inspiring development in Woburn

In a little more than a year’s time, the residents of apartments in a smart new Lower Hutt retirement community will be enjoying grandstand views of the Hutt River, north to the Tararuas and south to Wellington.

The ‘New Masonic’ – its name has yet to be formally announced – is being built in the grounds of the Woburn Masonic Village, alongside the existing Masonic rest home and hospital.

Masonic Villages Limited chief executive Warick Dunn says the apartments are designed for a new generation of residents who expect to lead comfortable active lifestyles in their retirement. When the 47 apartments in the first stage are built, residents will have access to two conservatories, a small library, a ‘men’s shed’, and a bar and lounge looking over the Hutt River.

“When the 39 apartments in the second stage are completed the following year, the full range of village amenities will be available,” says Mr Dunn. A spacious entrance lobby will lead to reception, a hairdressing and beauty salon, café and dining area, snooker room and an indoor bowls and games area.

On the first floor, serviced by lift and stairs, there will be a library, an IT and office suite, arts and craft room, theatre for movies and live entertainment, exercise room, gym, spa and sauna, and a large lounge and bar opening out on to a deck.

“The apartments, which will range in size from 53 to 122 square metres, will offer a superb environment for living and enjoying life. Residents will not only have access to the facilities of the village, they will also be within easy reach of the many recreational and social amenities that Lower Hutt offers,” Mr Dunn says.

The New Masonic is the most ambitious development yet for The Masonic Villages Trust and its operating companies. In all three villages – in Woburn, Levin and Masterton – it is actively building and upgrading its retirement offerings.

Its largest previous development was the Glenwood Masonic Hospital, a state of the art facility built in Masterton in 2010.The Trust is a charity set up by Freemasons in the southern North Island for the benefit of the wider community. Mr Dunn says its retirement communities, rest homes and hospitals are open to all “people of goodwill”.

“Being a charity, any profits we make go back into providing services. While we obviously have to be prudent with our finances, the needs of our residents are our primary motivation, not maximising profits.”

The apartments will range in size from one to three bedrooms and will be located on three floors. Most will sit alongside the Hutt River and many will have direct external access to a deck or small patio.The building itself will be constructed in reinforced concrete and timber, with natural wood being used to add character to communal areas.

The impressive entrance lobby will feature a two storey height window bringing natural light into the foyer, with many of the internal ‘streets’ also featuring skylights for natural lighting and to provide a sense of spaciousness.

Mr Dunn says pricing for the occupation right agreements for the apartments has yet to be finalised, but is likely to range from $250,000 to $610,000. At this stage the apartments are not being actively marketed, but he welcomes expressions of interest from potential purchasers.

The main boundaries of the development are the Hutt River, Whites Line West and Wai-iti Terrace. Initial site clearing and preparation is now underway from the Whites Line West entrance. Construction of stage one is expected to begin in early autumn, subject to the Trust getting a building consent from the Hutt City Council. A resource consent has already been granted.

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